by Steven Wolfe
The dripping fishbeast
a truck-long muscled mouth
hangs from the shed's crossbeam,
mindless, a pendulum swinging slightly
to the movement of the earth.
A blade rips--
the remains of a seal
flood from the bloody slit
across the cement floor.
The boy behind the man
steps with him from the shade
into sunlight greasy with chum and salt
and smoke billowing from the crab shack
as sacks of sliced potatoes
tumble from burlap into hot lard.
His father's giant hand
lays damp across his neck
sweetened with vinegar and blood.
The boy slips his hold, returns to the dark shed
the beast still hanging from the straining rope,
eyes flat, jaws stretched
for an endless consuming hunger
that will never now be satisfied.
Inside the shed,
a silent, damp vaginal salinity;
a taste you know
though you're only fourteen,
veined in the muscle
and hard seven times a night
in the basement bed
of that girl to whom--
time will teach you how this works--
you will soon be a stranger.
Your pocket blade glimmers,
twisting in the bloodsoaked gum
as you pry out a tooth
and rub it to a skeletal
with the singleminded craving
for pressure, puncture,
gush and tear.
You can feel the edge
scything through the water,
swells passing soundlessly above
and the steep black depths
echoing with honks and twitches,
the scent of warm mammal blood
blossoming in the water.
If only you could ride against this skin,
strong under the fat,
let the seawater rush across your back
diving into chasms
until your eyes burst from pressure
your ears collapse and fill;
become just this smell and this taste
this ruthless absolute self.
Pressed shoulder against the door
riding home under a purple sky,
black mountains loom
jagged and tall
like the gelled pompadour
of some pompous, vacant TV star.
back to a quiet servitude
in the land of half-truths,
paint and glass and carpets
obese lawns and perfect curbs
the tooth shoved deep in a pocket
against your thigh.
The brutal flesh carved into steaks
will impart not an atom of its essence
to those who eat it;
No courage to the weak
No muscle to the flaccid
No vision to the lying.
It will give them no life
as they gave you life,
nothing you ever asked for.
You are silent, impermeable;
everything they say is wrong, and
like the beast they will never know you--
and you will say not a single word
about anything, to anyone,
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